An earthquake and tsunami could cost Israel NIS 100 billion to NIS 150b., Home
Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter said on Thursday.
Speaking at a
meeting of economic officials convened as part of a five-day earthquake
preparedness drill, Dichter said he was referring to a possible scenario in
which thousands of Israeli would be killed.
The IDF Home Front Command
kicked off its first national earthquake drill on Sunday at 11 a.m. The command,
together with all emergency services and government ministries, simulated a
major earthquake causing 7,000 “casualties.”
Participants in Thursday’s
meeting included Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley
Fischer, National Economic Council Chairman Eugene Kandel, Israel Securities
Authority chairman Shmuel Hauser and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO Esther
Steinitz brought attention to an agreement signed in Washington
on Wednesday to extend $3.8b. in US loan guarantees to Israel to 2016. He said
that the deal provides an economic anchor which will make it easier for Israel
to raise funds in the event of an earthquake or other emergency
On a more negative note, the finance minister accused the
Defense Ministry of being the only government ministry unprepared for an
“We are pressuring the Defense Ministry to act like all the
other ministries. That way the state will improve its recovery
Fischer said that the Bank of Israel is working diligently to
prepare for disaster. He explained that bank officials are taking into account
the probability that communication would be limited, and therefore are focusing
on how to keep payment systems operational.
Jerusalem Post staff
contributed to this report.